Canadian Health Department ‘Mismanaging’ AIDS Funding, Auditor General Says
Canadian Auditor General Sheila Fraser said yesterday that the Canadian health department has "mismanaged" millions of dollars allocated for the government's HIV/AIDS program, the National Post reports. In a report tabled in Parliament, Fraser states that Health Canada does a "poor job" of managing and monitoring its $143.2 million budget, including the $13.3 million the agency allocates for HIV/AIDS. The government's HIV/AIDS strategy is designed to fund community organizations that provide treatment, support, prevention and care services to people affected by HIV/AIDS. Auditors examined 11 such programs and found that many of them were "poorly managed" and lacked "key documents" and that the department did not act promptly to fix problems. Programs included in the audit were the Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange (CATIE), the Canadian Public Health Association, the HIV/AIDS Clearinghouse and the Canadian AIDS Society. The report found, for example, that CATIE received a $5.5 million grant from Health Canada in 1998 despite external assessments of the grant proposal that "were not favorable and identified many significant concerns." These concerns were not resolved before the grant was approved, the report said. In addition, the report stated that Health Canada does not evaluate whether groups have effectively used the grants or achieved their objectives. Health Canada says it is reviewing all of the HIV/AIDS programs that it funds, and the department will try to identify additional problems and recommend corrective actions to be taken by staff members managing the projects (McIntosh, National Post, 12/5).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.